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Subject: Re: Operatic color schemes
From: "Max D. Winter" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max D. Winter
Date:Wed, 21 Jun 2017 12:07:20 -0400

text/plain (41 lines)

Max Paley said:

"When Leonie Rysanek came to San Francisco to sing her first Ortruds in 
1982, she was shocked at Beni Montresor's pink and gold sets as well as 
the costumes. Her comment: "But I thought "Lohengrin" was a BLUE 

I think Rysanek's color scheme comes from Thomas Mann's famous 
description of the music of the Lohengrin overture as "silberne-blaue" 
(silver-blue).  To the extent one can ascribe colors to music,  I think this is 
a pretty good description.

Speaking of colors in opera, my grandmother (a musician who instilled in 
me my love for music and opera in particular) once told me a funny story 
about a performance of "Le Nozze di Figaro" she attended in Vienna in the 
late 50s.  The cast included Schwarzkopf, Seefried, Ludwig and Fischer-
Dieskau and was conducted by (as I recall) either Bohm or Karajan.  I was 
very impressed and asked her how it was.  She said, "We left after the 
second act."  Stunned, I asked why.  She said, "Well, in Act II, 
Schwarzkopf was wearing a puce-colored dress, and the walls of her 
boudoir were pink.  And that dress and those walls kept saying dirty words 
to each other all through the act.  And I was so upset by the end that I told 
your grandfather we had to leave."

Imagine, walking out on a performance like that.  Now THAT'S color 


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